, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 1–39

Warum man Essentialist sein kann – eine logische Konstruktion im Schnittfeld von Sprache, Ontologie und Naturwissenschaft

  • Ulrich Nortmann

DOI: 10.1023/A:1020195206683

Cite this article as:
Nortmann, U. Erkenntnis (2002) 57: 1. doi:10.1023/A:1020195206683


Essentialism is, on the one hand, anchored with considerable firmness in a common sense picture of the world. On the other hand, it was dismissed for logico-philosophical reasons by a scientifically minded theorist like Quine. ``New essentialists' like Kripke did engage in very profitable theorizing on an essentialist basis, but made no significant effort to investigate the prospects of imparting to an essentialist metaphysics a solid foundation within a scientific world view. These foundational prospects are the concern of the article. – The investigation is guided by two ideas which are elaborated within a proof theoretical framework in the course of the article. First, being an essential F (where ``F' represents a predicate) is linked with a lifelong possession of the property signified by ``F' (but there is something more in it). Second, a special kind of necessity is involved in (true) predications of essential F-ness; it should be capable, like possibly all kinds of necessity, of being spelt out, in the final analysis, in terms of the provability of appropriate propositions in appropriate theoretical systems. In outlining the relevant axiomatic bases, the article draws on an early paper by E. Hirsch on individuation and essence.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrich Nortmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophisches InstitutUniversität des SaarlandesSaarbrücken